TALLAHASSEE — Florida A&M University has partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help build a more equitable and diverse workforce in food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences. FAMU was selected as one of eight 1890 Historically Black Land-grant institutions to receive a combined $18.1 million investment in minority-serving institutions funded by the Inflation Reduction Act.
“The secured funds from the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences (CAFS) underscores the priority we have set forth as a university that targets student success and academic excellence related to faculty productivity,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost Allyson Watson, Ph.D. “
During the next five years, six FAMU CAFS faculty members will collaborate in a consortium led by North Carolina A&T State University on three grants as a part of a comprehensive plan “From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agricultural Professionals Program” (NextGen).
Lambert Kanga, Ph.D., director of the Biological Control Center and Entomology Program, will receive a $10 million grant for Developing the Next Generation of Minority Leaders in Pest Management for Food and Agriculture in a Changing Climate. Associate Professor Muhammad Haseeb, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor Anamika Sharma, Ph.D. will serve as co-principal investigators.
Harriet A. Paul, director of International Agriculture Programs and the Center for International Agricultural Trade Development Research and Training, will receive $2.2 million to help develop and sustain a global workforce through experiential learning.
Neil James, Ph.D., CAFS associate dean for academic programs, and Conchita Newman, assistant director of the Cooperative Extension Program, will receive $1.1 million as co-principal investigators to help strengthen the college-to-career ready pipeline for employment at the USDA and related industries.
Professor Kanga is a distinguished researcher and chair of the etymology department at FAMU. He will use the funding to address the shortage of minorities in agricultural professions like pest management and crop production. His multifaceted research project will use experiential learning, leadership, and entrepreneurship to train secondary school and college students.
“I am truly honored and excited to receive this unprecedented award,” said Kanga. “It will create a critical mass of holistically, well-trained millennial leaders in the professions of agricultural sciences.”
For the last three years, CAFS has received the largest quantity of grant funding it has ever received in the history of the university dating back to its founding in 1887. Dean Robert Taylor, Ph.D. estimates the college should receive a total of $35.9 million in grant funding for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which ends July 1.
Dean Taylor congratulates the “outstanding faculty and staff in the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences.”